NASA vs Elon Musk: SpaceX satellites can KILL astronauts, increase Asteroid threat to Earth
NASA has written a five-page letter warning that Elon Musk led SpaceX satellites can end up killing astronauts and increase the threat an asteroid hitting Earth.
Taking a strong stance, NASA has submitted a five-page letter to the Federal Communications Commission highlighting the dangers of SpaceX plans for Starlink Gen2 satellite launch. NASA has urged the commission to push back Elon Musk space tech company's plans of launching 30,000 satellites as a part of its Gen2 phase. NASA highlights that this may end up congesting the lower orbit and not only endanger its ongoing missions but also astronauts. Further, with so many satellites in the Earth's lower orbit, there is a high chance of it affecting NASA's asteroid detection system which may fail to detect an asteroid hurtling towards Earth.
The five-page letter was spotted by CNBC space reporter Michael Sheetz and SpaceNews which lists multiple concerns from the Gen2 Starlink mission of SpaceX. The letter was submitted to the commission on February 8. It was submitted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on the behalf of NASA. This came after SpaceX shared its plans for launching Starlink's second generation satellites last month.
NASA vs Elon Musk
NASA wants the launch of 30,000 satellites to be pushed back till SpaceX can give a reassuring response to its concerns regarding endangerment to astronaut life and potential asteroid hit on Earth which can be caused by these satellites.
One of the main concerns emerging from the letter is low Earth orbit congestion. NASA said that it's tracking over 25,000 objects (satellites) in orbit. Of those, almost 6,100 have a perigee below 600 km. Perigee is the point in orbit which is the closest to the Earth. With so many satellites sharing a similar axis in the orbit, it has the potential to create high congestion.
NASA wrote in the letter that adding even more SpaceX satellites to orbit would increase the congestion “exponentially”. But that's not all. Another big concern is that more SpaceX satellites in orbit could hamper the asteroid defense systems.
“NASA estimates that there would be a Starlink in every single asteroid survey image taken for planetary defense against hazardous asteroid impacts, decreasing asteroid survey effectiveness by rendering portions of images unusable,” the American space agency wrote in the letter. This could make it harder to see any asteroids that might be making their way towards Earth.
As the duel between the two space agencies builds up, time only will tell if NASA's strong stance will budge Elon Musk and SpaceX to take corrective measures.
Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.